Whilst it is perfectly possible when in the Algarve to eat Chinese, Indian or Italian food (not to mention greasy English breaksfasts!), it would be rather a shame to be in Portugal and not try some of the local fare. Eating out in Portugal is far cheaper than many other popular tourist destinations in Europe and cheaper still if you venture slightly inland from the coast.
Portuguese cooking is heavily influenced by the countryís explorers and invaders so donít be surprised to find that dishes such as chicken peri-peri pack quite a punch. Donít expect fancy cooking and elaborate sauces either.
Portugal is great, however, for freshly caught, simply prepared fish and shellfish with sardines cooked on wooden skewers over an open fire a particular speciality. In fact the Portuguese love their sardines so much that each August there is a sardine festival in Portim„o in the western Algarve. Another popular dish on the Algarve is bacalhau or salt cod which can be prepared in a variety of different ways.
If you are not keen on fish or shellfish donít despair as meat is another popular ingredient in Portuguese cooking, with pork particularly popular. If you fancy something a little different try pork cooked with white truffles and acorns.
Those with a sweet tooth will not be left hungry on the Algarve. There are said to be over two hundred different types of Portuguese dessert, including some with rather bizarre names such as nunís belly Ė a sweet pastry whose origins stem from, unsurprisingly, nuns in the 18th century.
Cheese lovers too are well catered for, with sheep cheese being one of the most popular. Similar in taste to a French Brie it has a smooth, creamy consistency.
Few Portuguese are vegetarians and if you do not eat fish or meat you could find it difficult to find much choice in restaurants outside the larger resorts on the Algarve. That said many resorts are increasing the range of food on offer in order to cater for those who don't eat meat, it perhaps just pays to check in advance.
Donít forget to check that the restaurant of your choice accepts credit cards. A surprising number donít!